UK has the most expensive diesel in Europe

Someone using a diesel pump at a petrol station

The UK has the dubious honour of having the most expensive diesel in Europe

A new report from the RAC reveals that the UK has the most expensive diesel in Europe, despite the fuel duty discount introduced in March 2022.  

What is the average price of diesel? 

According to the latest figures, the average price of diesel in the UK is 155p per litre, 5p more than both Belgium and Ireland at 150p a litre.  

The fuel duty discount was introduced in March 2022 to combat the rapid rise in fuel prices caused by Russia invading Ukraine in February 2022. The price of both petrol and diesel was cut from 57.95p to 52.95p. Despite this, the UK still has the highest rate of duty on diesel in Europe, followed by Italy where diesel costs an average of 148p per litre.  

What are diesel prices in the rest of Europe? 

Interestingly, fuel duty and VAT doesn’t seem to directly affect the price of petrol and diesel at the pumps.  

France’s duty rate is the equivalent of one penny lower than the UK but its average price for diesel is 9p less than the UK’s. France has the same VAT rate as the UK at 20% but Italy and Belgium have higher rates at 22% and 21% respectively, yet still charge less for diesel at the pumps.  

In Ireland, where diesel is 5p cheaper than in the UK, duty is also less at 6p a litre, but VAT is 23%, 3% more than in the UK.  

Average price of petrol and diesel in Europe  

(prices in equivalent pence per litre)

  Country  Diesel  Unleaded    Country Diesel Unleaded
1 United Kingdom 155p 149p 16 Hungary 133p 134p
2 Belgium 150p 150p 17 Poland 133p 133p
3 Ireland 150p 156p 18 Portugal 133p 150p
4 Italy 148p 161p 19 Sweden 133p 139p
5 Denmark 146p 175p 20 Estonia 131p 148p
6 Finland 146p 156p 21 Czech Republic 130p 136p
7 France 146p 161p 22 Slovakia 129p 139p
8 Netherlands 146p 173p 23 Slovenia 129p 133p
9 Germany 142p 159p 24 Spain 128p 142p
10 Greece 140p 165p 25 Luxembourg 126p 136p
11 Austria 137p 139p 26 Romania 124p 125p
12 Latvia 137p 146p 27 Lithuania 123p 130p
13 Cyprus 134p 133p 28 Bulgaria 116p 116p
14 Average 134p 144p 29 Malta 103p 115p
15 Croatia 133p 137p        

What can be done about  high diesel prices? 

The RAC brought the high fuel prices to the attention of the Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho in mid-May, although it appears no action has yet been taken to lower the fuel prices.  

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “We can see no good reason why retailers in Great Britain aren’t cutting their prices at the pumps.

“The price of diesel at the pump has barely fallen, even though the wholesale prices of petrol and diesel are identical at just 111p a litre. The average price of a litre of diesel should really be down to around the 145p level if retailers were charging fairer prices. The margin on petrol is also, in our view, unreasonably high at 13p.” 

If you’re on the lookout for the cheapest fuel in your area, check out our blog on the RAC Fuel Finder app. 

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